1st Edition

The Middling Sorts Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class

Edited By Burton J. Bledstein, Robert D. Johnston Copyright 2001
    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    According to their national myth, all Americans are "middle class," but rarely has such a widely-used term been so poorly defined. These fascinating essays provide much-needed context to the subject of class in America.

    Introduction, Burton Bledstein. MIDDLING SORTS. The Social Consequences of American Revolutionary Ideals in the Early Republic, Joyce Appleby. Master Mechanics and the Market Revolution in the Antebellum North, Bruce Laurie. MORAL MARKETS. Charitable Calculations: Fancywork, Charity and the Culture of the Sentimental Market,Elizabeth White. Bringing Up Yankees: The CIvil War and the Moral Education of Middle Class Children, James Marten. RELIGIOUS LIFE. Henry Ward Beecher and the Persuasive Power of the Middle Class, Debby Applegate. Scientific Church Music and the Making of the American Middle Class, John Kilsdonk. How the Therapeutic Ethos Played in Peoria, Andrew Reiser. MATERIAL CULTURE. Cartes de Visite Portrait Photographs and the Culture of Class Formation, Andrea Volpe. Public Exposure: MIddle-Class Material Culture at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, Marina Moscowitz. The RIse of the Realtor: Professionalism, Gender and Middle CLass Identity, Jeffrey Hornstein. BUSINESS CAREERS. Obstacles to History? Modernization and the Lower-Middle Class in Chicago, 1900-1940, Andrew Cohen. The Corporate Reconstruction of American Manhood, Clark Davis. RACE AND COMMUNITY. The Rising Tide of Youth: Chicago's Wonder Books and the New Black Middle Class, Adam Green. Middle Class Politics in the Postwar Era, Sylvie Murray. WHY CLASS CONTINUES TO COUNT. Propertied of a Different Kind: Bourgeoisie and Lower Middle Class in the Nineteenth-Century United States, Robert Johnston.


    Robert Johnston is Assistant Professor of History at Yale. Burton Bledstein is Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the author of The Culture of Professionalism.

    "These compelling essays recover the history of the American middle classes by replacing rigid dichotomies and fixed categories with a much needed emphasis on multiplicity and change. Exploring how the 'middle sorts' mingled such matters as democracy and ambition, morality and consumption, entrepreneurial values and corporate ideals, the sacred and the secular, the authors also productively dismantle the boundaries between cultural, economic, and social history. The result is a volume filled with an assortment of riches." -- Joan Shelley Rubin, University of Rochester
    "Scholars have for far too long derided and caricatured the American middle class. With its complex treatment of complicated people, The Middling Sorts should prove a landmark in the historical reassessment of middle-class Americans." -- Catherine McNicol Stock, Connecticut College
    "This volume demonstrates the richness of the emerging field of middle-class studies and will help define its agenda." -- Journal of American History